Rationale: Lysophosphatidic acid is a phospholipid mediator that modulates neurodevelopment and neurogenesis in the hippocampus through its actions on LPA1 receptors. Emerging evidences support LPA(1) as a mediator of learning and emotional behaviour. There are no studies addressing its role on behaviours associated to drug abuse.
Objectives: We examined whether genetic deletion of LPA1 receptor in maLPA(1)-null mice affected either cocaine-induced conditioned locomotion (CL) or behavioural sensitization (BS) induced by repeated cocaine exposure. We also analysed whether cocaine induced changes in the expression of functional markers of both dopamine- and glutamate-related genes in the striatum and the dorsal hippocampus.
Methods: We monitored cocaine-induced CL and BS in both genotypes of mice. Striatal dopamine and hippocampal glutamate-related genes were measured by real-time quantitative PCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry.
Results: maLPA(1)-null mice exhibit an attenuated CL response after cocaine conditioning but a normal BS after repeated cocaine exposure. These behavioural changes were associated to alterations on the expression of metabotropic mGLUR3 glutamate receptors and on the actions of cocaine on the GLUR1 subunit of AMPA glutamate receptors in the hippocampus of maLPA(1) animals. Striatal dopaminergic markers (tyrosine hydroxylase, dopamine D1 receptor, and dopamine transporter DAT), were similar in both genotypes and were equally affected by cocaine exposure.
Conclusion: The present results indicate that the lack of LPA1 receptor affect cocaine-induced conditioned locomotion but not behavioural sensitization. The findings suggest that LPA1 receptor may be necessary for a normal associative contextual learning associated to cocaine, probably through the modulation of hippocampal glutamatergic circuits.